V1644 Kathryn Brenne New Orleans jacket

That jacket – I’m so in love with this pattern and this fabric, STOF France New Orleans cotton duck (Fabric.com). My peek on my last post:

For me, this project was all about working the print and the pattern so that I ended up with a reflection of my style while accenting this gorgeous print and the beautiful jacket design.

Details on the print – I spent about 9 hours placing the pattern pieces, with single layer layouts, so that the predominant ladies and all the lovely backgrounds were highlighted in a balanced way. I drafted a complete second set of pattern pieces for everything to make this easier.

Sewing notes:

  • As on my muslin (here), I sewed a straight size 12.
  • I narrowed bottom of back, 1/4” at CB bottom cured into waist area to remove flare I don’t need. 
  • I also removed front dart inside the princess seam, as I have a small bust and do not need the shaping. You can google this change, I used a tutorial for mine.
  • I added 3” to sleeve for full length with a 1.5″ hem.
  • I also used another pattern to narrow the 2-piece sleeve to the hemline, which was very otherwise very wide.
  • I used only 3 buttons, which extends the front lapel fold a bit and shows a cami or shell. No snaps and so on as on the pattern.
  • I used Hong Kong seam finishes except inside sleeve and armscye, which are serged.
  • About Hong Kong finishes – I end mine well within a hem allowance or interfacing that goes over them, which reduces bulk in seams. The pic below is the seam allowance into the neckline and into the hem allowance.
  • I also drafted a back neckline facing, which releases the collar seam and flattens the fabric flow to the back upper bodice. Remember – when you add a binding to a convex curve, push it out a bit so the it folds over nicely. It’s the opposite of what you do on a concave curve, such as a neckline.

More pics!

I really love this jacket, and the entire project was really engaging.

Ciao! Coco

Butterick 5504 linen pants

OK, setting a record, 2 posts in 2 days. But you guys are the best, all the comments, best wishes, and virtual hugs on my last post…right back at you. It really made realize that I’m not the only one trying to redefine my life to things as they are. You’re great.

The pants I mentioned on my post are these, a pattern I love, taken to a full length.

The fit is so nice, even in the back, with the elastic waist. Sewing notes:

  • These are a straight size Medium, with 6″ added for the longer length.
  • The fabric is Robert Kaufman Essex yarn-dyed linen in taupe. Yes, it’s very gold, not taupe at all.
  • I turned the waistband 2″, instead of 1 5/8″, to raise the crotch a tad. I’m 5′ 7.5″, and found I needed this adjustment. A happy change, since my 1 1/4″ non-roll elastic fits perfectly in the casing. BTW, the pattern calls for a drawstring, not elastic, but front-tied drawstrings are not my style 🙂
  • On the inside, I serged all my seams, it makes for such a nice finish on linen.
  • I double-stitch and serge all my crotch seams, woven or knit. If you open the crotch curve as you serge, you’ll get all the flexibility you need in the seam.

Cute pattern! I love the pockets, just a little different and so very easy to sew.

So, a sneak peek at the jacket that goes-with, my next blog post. Ciao! Coco

Simplicity 8640 summer dress

A bit of fun. My sew-jo is alive and well, but my blogging-jo has been terribly repressed. Frankly, I spend my days watching Netflix (lately, Dexter) or sewing small projects. But I do put on a fresh dress every day, and I focus on what I can control and what I cannot control. I am wary, being 72 years old, but I do go to the grocery, mask and gloves, quick visit. Boy, I miss grazing in stores. For fabric, Amazon is my buddy, the ultimate contact-free shopping alternative. And I’m serious about that.

Simplicity 8640 – wonderful pattern, sewn many times with all the front piecing. Strangely, or predictably, I found that the stitching in the front pieces was irritating the skin on my chest. Solution: I drafted a one-piece front 🙂

Looking back at earlier versions, I think a white linen is in the wings. Following, just lots of pics, nothing has changed much other than the front.

Fabric: Fabric Merchants Challis Floral Navy/Orange, I purchased this on Amazon, but its also sold on the Fabric.com site.

Next up – actually I’ve sewn 2 jackets and a pair of pants. All of which I really love. And I have another pair of pants planned. I’m minding my mental state, these are such difficult times, at times I feel so isolated.

For now, and I hope you are well, Coco

Fabric as art #1

Summer, and I’ve been in the house for 9 months. All the ‘big’ items are finished – roof and outside plumbing repair, front yard gardens, bug-free screening for the porch, and, the biggest ticket item, a new A/C compressor and air handler. Whew.

It’s time to work on my bedroom. It’s a huge room, 1/2 of the house, L-shaped, with a sitting area as one enters, which is home to my piano and a twisted wood and wicker chair, then a deeper space that is home to my dresser, armoire, bed, and nightstand…

I’ve had lots of time to think about wall art, and a couple weeks ago I decided to use 3 large frames with fabrics that I love, instead of conventional art. Today I framed the first of 3 pieces, the one over my piano. I don’t want to focus on the art when I’m playing, so I was looking for a fabric with fluidity and color. This is Waverly Mayan Market Caliente duck from Fabric.com. I ordered 1 yard and turned the pattern sideways to get a horizontal motion. It is the most expensive fabric I’ve ever purchased, at $30/yd, but the cut was very generous. I’m sure it was done with a view of the pattern repeat.

Instead of sewing notes, here are my construction notes!

  • I purchased 3 stretched canvas frames from Sam Flax. These have a 3/4″ profile – 2 @ 30″ x 40″, and one, the one, at 20″ x 30″. I really don’t plan to frame them so size was important.
  • Tools! From Ace Hardware, a staple gun and 1/4″ staples for attaching my fabric. Which, by the way, I cut out with 2″ borders once I decided on the print placement. The staple gun was easy to use, it’s an Ace brand, I think the person helping me and I tried out every model in the store. I love Ace!!
  • I added fusible interfacing in a 4″ block on each corner, since the fabric is a loosely woven. I was scared silly I would mess up the corners. Then I stapled the opposing sides and worked with those corners. I was grateful for the interfacing, and it went very well!
  • To hang the frame, I used d-ring fasteners and picture wire. I like these fasteners because they lie flat. I did have to get shorter screws, the ones included in the pack were too long.
  • And up it went!! Please ignore the blue-ish walls, they came with the house, and as soon as it’s safe, they will be painted white, which I find very soothing in my bedroom space.

I hope this finds you all well and strong, what a strange and challenging time.

For now, Coco

Style Arc Bobbi Bomber muslin

A short post on a Bobbi Bomber muslin. I was attracted by the long silhouette of this pattern, a length that would not hit the waist of my jeans or trousers.

It’s really cute and has a longer length than most bomber jackets.

So what happened…

The major major problem I had is the raglan sleeve. I’m so broad-shouldered, I really feel that the upper bodice is skimpy on me. So much so that I did not insert the (precious) 30″ zipper. Nor did I line it, although I did cut out a lining. I sewed the size 12, but I know a 14 could overwhem me.

If you have a narrow chest/back, this might work for you. It’s not a complicated pattern – I would rate it at a confident advanced beginner, mostly because of the use of rib fabric on the neckline, hemline, and sleeves. As is usual with Style Arc, the instructions are marginal 🙂

Lesson learned, but a couple more pics:

The fabric is Winding Ridge yarn-dyed cotton ikat, made in India, purchased from Fabric.com. And those are faux welt pockets – I knew early on that I would not embrace the pattern so I diminished my sewing angst.

And I still plan to make a ‘longer’ bomber jacket, but one with inset sleeves and so on.

For now – Coco

Women sewing

Following my last post, Monday Monday #4, which I deleted, I recognized that I can be hurt. And being hurt or hurting others is not why I write this blog. Sewing is sometimes joyful, sometimes necessary, sometimes difficult, sometimes a blessing. For me, it is something that I am grateful to share with many – it can promote friendship and result in unexpected experiences, but it has largely brought me joy.


A week of gardening

It is with great relief and stiff muscles that I share my week of planting the front of my lovely bungalow.

I had all the material in the front beds removed (at some expense) last fall. Nine very old and diseased shrubs and various other things. And since then I’ve sprayed the weeds a bit and considered what I might like to do.

I did engage a landscaper, who came back with a plan I cannot afford, particularly after the news last Friday that I need to replace my entire air conditioning system. Priorities…

So – a walk thru the past week, minus multiple trips to nurseries for pics and plants, as well as the very dirty business of cleaning the beds and prepping them. Also cleaning me!! Four beds, before and after mulch…

College Park is a front porch neighborhood, people walking their pets, biking, kids playing, folks chatting across yards. I love my front porch. My son, grandson, and I can ‘distance’ here and share our lives, usually on Sunday.

Am I ready to get back to sewing? of course, and I look forward to watching my small plants grow. I feel so blessed. For now, coco